What happens to property held in a joint tenancy after the death of one or more joint tenants? There are a number of ways that a property owner can hold title to his, her, or its property. One way to hold title is a joint tenancy.
A joint tenancy property is created by deed, will or other transfer to two or more persons in equal share who are expressly declared to be joint tenants. One of the main purposes of a holding a property as joint tenants is to avoid probate upon the death of one or more property owners. This is because unlike other forms of co-ownership, a joint tenancy implies a right of survivorship. What this means is that upon the death of one joint tenant, that decedent joint tenant’s interest automatically passes to the other remaining joint tenants.
For example, Owners A, B, and C own a property as joint tenants. Upon Owner A’s death, Owner A’s interest in the property automatically passes to Owners B and C instead of passing to Owner A’s heirs. As a result Owners B and C become the sole owners.
However, even in a joint tenancy, the surviving co-owners will need to take steps to clear title to the property to ensure it is marketable. If there is no dispute over title to real property and a death certificate is available, title may be cleared by recording an affidavit of death together with a certified copy of the death certificate in the county in which the property is located. If there is a dispute or there is no death certificate, the remaining owners will need to initiate a court proceedings to clear title.
Schorr Law has experience clearing title to real property after the death of a co-owner or in various other situations. To see if you qualify for a free 30-minute consultation contact us by phone at (310) 954-1877 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Stephanie Goldstein, esq.